When is it too rough to swim?
We are very fortunate living on the Isle of Wight because there is almost always somewhere you can dip regardless of the weather and in some places, regardless of sea state, HOWEVER (you knew that was coming didn’t you 😊) there are a few things to bear in mind. It might sound silly to state the obvious but when the weather is stormy then there is far more energy in the water in addition to the background tides and currents. There is a measure of energy, kW/m (quite a good explanation here from Marine Scotland) which, when the sea state is calm, can be as low as 0.0something kW/m. During Storm Babet, this rose to a peak of 16.02kW/m (The data for Sandown Bay is available in almost real time from the Channel Coastal Observatory who have a number of data buoys around England and the data can be invaluable for helping decide if it is safe to swim or not.) This is huge! Not only were the waves enormous and relentless, they were powerful and capable of picking up the sort of debris that can cause serious injury (you can see part of a pallet and large pebbles in the photo below.) If you are IN the water, with large waves, you can’t see what is heading your way and we have often pulled complete pallets and chunks of wood out of the sea. So although you may be able to cope with the waves, surf sideways, splash about and have fun, always be aware that its the debris you can’t see that could be more dangerous than the waves.